Saturday, January 31, 2009


This view shows most of the back garden from my study window. This was taken a couple of years ago. First there's the conservatory; the next bit is the patio, herb bed, and the pond; then the square garden (almost hidden in this shot), and then the main lawn, with the greenhouse and fruit cage out of sight behind the garage. There's a new oval bed in the centre. Beyond the apple trees is the vegetable garden, the tool shed, compost heaps and so on.

Done! (kind of...)

Well, the weeding of that side of the front is done. Ahem... nearly. I still want to pull up the ivy, which was so slow to establish but which I now regret. After that I will finish it all off with a top-dressing of bark, over some compost on which plants I think need it.

I took some pictures but I think there's a limit to how excited any reader is going to get over pictures of hard-won bare earth! Instead I tried to get some of flowers, but they're in rather short supply just now. These are the best I could manage: lungwort (pulmonaria) and primroses. They both look very much as though they're still rubbing their eyes. As well they might: it hasn't got to 5 degrees here today, and we have snow forecast for the coming week.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eye candy

It occurs to me that some more photos would be nice. I've tried adding these in the sidebar but they don't look good that small, so I'm putting them here instead. First off, one of muggins that I think is fairly characteristic!

Our first daffodil

Admittedly it's cheating slightly because it's in the conservatory, but I'm still chuffed because it's open even earlier than the little bunch we treated me to from Waitrose. I've added a note to my diary to plant lots in here in September. I think they're very good value indoors. We have some photos from about 3 years ago which show hyacinths indoors and they look vivid and uplifing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Likes and dislikes

Well I don't know about you but I've just decided this blog is getting pretty boring, so here is a list of my favourite and least favourite things. These are the vaguely garden-related ones, at least!

Thumbs up to:
Hawthorns, wrought iron, bonfires, elderflowers, weather, hedgerowing with a basket, watching flocks of birds flying, cow parsley (outside the garden), foliage, structure and volume, lying in a hammock, birdsong esp blackbirds', robins, peonies, early hybrid tea roses, single-flowered roses, wild roses..

Thumbs down to:
Orange roses, gladioli, ceanothus, garden centres (wiht a few special exceptions), plants bred to be all flowers and no leaves.

I'd be interested to know other people's?

Busy day - elsewhere

OK, OK, so I said "daily account". Unfortunately I spent today loading a car full of music equipment, and doing other things that had to be done but don't involve plants or even rubus tricolor. Harrumph. And tomorrow will be no better because if I don't do some housework soon I think my husband will decide the garden shed looks more appealing and move out. But we had more lovely rain today, which I will never cease to be grateful for even if it's over my head (having holidays in hot countries has taught me that much). And I'm champing at the bit to do more in the garden, which is a good sign. Ever onwards...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day Off

Today we did absolutely nothing garden-related apart from go to the tip. (I'm putting the rubus there, since I think it's too invasive to go on our compost heaps.) We went to this on the way back from visiting friends, who've just had a baby. The mother said she was looking forward to showing her daughter their garden for the first time and I found this very moving.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hours 4-7 of digging up the rubus tricolor

The title says it all really.

It looks almost destructive. I did love the swathe of green from that plant, but when I see how it's churned up the tarmac of the pavement, I realise how out of place it was.

I have a horrible feeling the two brunneras either side of the camelia have died,and they were so pretty all together. I hope I'm wrong and they pop up in the spring.

I was going to weaken and put in here a few pictures of what this part of the garden has been like in the spring before, but I see from the dates that in about a fortnight's time things will be flowering, so I'm going to hold my nerve and not post any pictures in the blog entries that aren't current. So here are the shoots of the snowdrops on the fence-side border of the pond garden, as a sign of things to look forward to. You can see that I leave dead leaves where they fall - I see no point in gathering them: they'll make a natural mulch eventually :)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

January, Fourth Week

Well, I suppose it must be the fourth week by now! It rained today. According to the forecast, it's going to carry on raining for ever and ever. Hmmm. Anyway, I accordingly spent the afternoon in the conservatory tidying up the plants in there. A huge amount of work remains to be done so I didn't take any photos yet. I'm hoping the stephanotis will recover - it's looking ever so sorry for itself at the moment. I watered it, and when it's drunk that I'll give it some liquid feed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January, still the Third Week

Today I was psyched up to go out in the garden again, and I worked on the front. Specifically, about 4 square feet to the right of the front door. Put like that, it doesn't sound very much. Ah well. The photos show Before and After: I was weeding and removing a rubus tricolor. This attractive ground cover plant had seemed such a good idea... until I read that it was ideally suited to motorway embankments, and sure enough it proved an exceedingly Good Doer, so sadly it had to go. But the nice surprise was finding lots of bulbs, their green shoots several inches up; I think they're daffodils :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January, Third Week

Today I began the project.

1. I took photographs of the garden exactly as it was to start with, everywhere including the front and even the shed and the greenhouse.
2. I cleared up dog poo.
3. I put the Christmas tree back in its place in the oval bed (with B's help). The plants there are already a good height and hide quite a lot of the wheeled pot.
4. I tidied away the tubs of sticks from the patio and the far lawn.
5. I took the old wire fencing to the tip.
6. And finally I bought a hellebore plant from Tesco and put it on the table.

I didn't do anything out of the book yet... thinking that when you're ankle deep in dog-mess, other things can wait!